The Return of Roubo


An 18th-century French workbench is quite possibly the most perfect design ever put to paper.
By Christopher Schwarz
Page: 28

From the August 2010 issue #184
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In the 18th century it was common for the workrooms and living areas of a home to share the same space. A workbench, for example, would not be out of place in the front room of the house.

This small historical fact has me concocting a plan, which I haven’t yet shared with my family.

My workshop at home is in a walkout basement. I’ve done what I can to make it pleasant, but it’s isolated from the rest of the house. This is on purpose: My planer and jointer sound like air-raid sirens.

During the brutal stock-preparation phase of a project, my shop is perfect. I can run machinery all day and bother no one. But when I get into the joinery of a project, I long for a shop with beams of natural light, wooden fl oors and a close connection to the day-to-day of my household.

In other words, I want to claim some space upstairs as a bench room.

Hold tight: This story isn’t just about me. It’s about you, too. A furniture-grade workbench is a great idea for apartment dwellers, or people who need to set up a shop in a spare bedroom of their house. It’s also a fi ne idea for people like me who plan (read: plan to grovel for permission) to do some woodworking in a living area of their home.

Lucky for all of us, one of the best-looking workbench designs is also the simplest to build and most useful, no matter if you have a love affair with your plunge router or your router plane.

Article: See a video demonstrating how to make 4° wedges.
Article: Read a detailed article on how to flatten a workbench’s top.
Blog: Read all of Christopher’s blog entries about workbenches.
To buy: Purchase a wood vise screw from Lake Erie Toolworks.
In our store: Purchase “Workbenches: from Design & Theory to Construction & Use.”


From the August 2010 issue #184
Buy this issue now